Silicon has been held in Newcastle for the last nine years. It is a small (70 members) con which tends to attract fans who are capable of organising their own fun. Despite this there is always a programme of events which mixes discussions with quizzes and supplies videos in between. The function of the programme is, however, simply to create the right ambience for conversation. There are pool, darts and video game competitions. The bar is always open. All in all it's a fine example of a relaxicon.
But there may never be another Silicon.
The Gannets who have masterminded Silicon over the years are tired. They feel there is little new they can provide and would like to quit while they are ahead. In addition, the hotel where Silicon is held is becoming more difficult about the arrangements required. So, at Silicon 9 in August this year, Kev Williams announced the Gannets' decision not to host Silicon next year.
The immediate response of all present was to try to persuade them to change their minds, because to outside eyes everything looked to be going well. Kev explained about the hassles with the hotel and listed the options facing Silicon. These included:
In any event the Gannets would be happy to help out with the odd programme item, but were not going to take on the burden of hotel negotiation, registrations etc.
By the end of the debate there seemed to be two groups of people willing to go away and investigate the possibilities in their locations. One was in Wales, the other in the London/Reading area. As yet, neither group has announced any intention of proceeding further.
This means that Silicon is still up for grabs.
The requirements, as I see them, are: a small (less than 100 bed) hotel, with at least one decent size function room, acceptable bar times, cheap food, friendly management. The location should be accessible by rail and road without undue hassles.
Earlier in 1985 Edinburgh hosted Siliclone, in a hotel that seemed to fit most of the above criteria, but was found deficient come the day. Despite all sorts of promises from the management the room bookings ended up in chaos, and the bar remained open to the public. It looks like the right hotel will be the major sticking point wherever Silicon ends up being held.
(I thought of putting in a bid for Silicon at the time but Silicon is at the August bank holiday, and that isn't a holiday in Scotland. In any case, I suspect Scotland is not central enough to entice the far southern fans.)
If any of you feel that you would like to try a Silicon then you had best get in touch with Kev Williams, 19 Jesmond Dene Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 3QT.